Friday, August 30, 2013

LA TIMES CLAIMS ‘DEMOCRATS LED PASSAGE’ OF 1964 CIVIL RIGHTS ACT

In a stunning historical error, Los Angeles Timesreporters Kathleen Hennessey, Richard Simon, Alexei Koseff reported that "Democrats led the passage of civil rights legislation that marchers pushed for in 1963."

In fact, Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV), a former member of the Ku Klux Klan, filibustered the bill in an attempt to kill the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Republican Minority Leader Everett Dirksen (R-IL) saved the landmark civil rights law from defeat by galvanizing Senate Republicans for a cloture vote to stop the Democrat-led filibuster.

On June 9, 1964, the night before the historic cloture vote, the 68-year-old Republican stayed up late into the night typing a speech on twelve sheets of Senate stationery. The next day, Senator Everett Dirksen delivered his oration on the floor of the U.S. Senate just minutes before the final vote. 

The final tally: 71 to 29, with 27 of the 33 Republicans voting to defeat the Democrat-led filibuster.

Democratic Majority Leader Mike Mansfield said, “This is his [Dirksen] finest hour. The Senate, the whole country is in debt to the Senator from Illinois.” Two days after Dirksen’s speech, Roy Wilkins of the NAACP wrote Dirksen a contrite letter apologizing for his earlier attacks. “The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People sends its thanks to you for your vote for cloture and for your final speech before the vote,” Wilkins wrote. “Your leadership of the Republican Party in the Senate at this turning point will become a significant part of the history of this century.”
The Los Angeles Times has yet to correct its error. 


Thursday, August 22, 2013

If you cross the borders into Mexico illegally you will be jailed for up to two years

Let me get this straight: If you cross the borders into Mexico illegally you will be jailed for up to two years. But, if you cross the United States border illegally you could get:
  • A driver's license
  • Access to Social Security and Medicare
  • Access to Food stamps and Welfare
  • Subsidized rent or a loan to buy a house
  • Free education for your children
  • Free health care and Emergency Room visits
  • Millions of servicemen and women who are fighting for your rights every single day
This is OUTRAGEOUS. But until we tighten the border and enforce existing laws for illegally crossing the border, millions of people will continue to traverse it every year.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

If You Blame the NRA for Death ... first find the facts!

Former Australian Official Blames Murder on the NRA. As expected, to deflect attention away from the real story behind the murder of Australian baseball player Chris Lane by three young thugs, some liberal pundits are blaming the NRA and a lack of “gun control” in the United States.

Even the former Australian deputy prime minister Tim Fischer is following a script written by liberal pundits in the United States:

“This is the bitter harvest and legacy of the policies of the NRA that even blocked background checks for people buying guns at gunshows. People should take this into account before going to the United States. I am deeply angry about this because of the callous attitude of the three teenagers (but) it's a sign of the proliferation of guns on the ground in the USA. There is a gun for almost every American.”

I realize that the murder of a young man who was minding his own business in a country that was not his own is a tragedy that can’t be salved over with rational argumentation. Emotional reactions are to be expected. 

What Mr. Fischer does not know is
“that the alleged shooters were in breach of state law by possessing guns in the first place and were not capable of passing national background checks already on the books.”
Criminals don’t care about laws. That’s why they’re criminals. Any person who will pull out a gun a shoot someone “for the fun of it” because he and his friends were “bored” is not going to care anything about background checks, gun registration, or possessing guns obtained illegally.

“Oklahoma law states that an individual ‘must be 18 years of age to possess any weapon, except rifles or shotguns used in education, hunting, or sport.’ Yet the two teens charged with first degree murder in Lane's death were only 15 and 16 years old.”
*****
“In addition to violating Oklahoma's law on possession of a firearm, individuals 15, 16, or 17 could never pass the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) in place now. The NICS system has been in place since Bill Clinton's presidency.”

Those responsible for the murder of Mr. Lane were the three young men who decided it would be fun to shoot somebody in the back. Somebody had to pick up the gun, put bullets in it, carry it to the scene, aim it, and pull the trigger. 

You can’t blame the NRA for that.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Senator Feinstein wants to restrict the Freedom of the Press

The majority of America now gets its news from online sources. This has opened the country up to a whole new variety of sources including blogs, vlogs, youtube and other alternative media sources. The term “Freedom of the Press” has certainly expanded to include multiple new-age venues of modern press. 


However, in a developing story, Senator Feinstein (D-CA) is seeking an amendment to restrict who gets protection under new media shield laws.

First, consider the problem with a media shield law. On the surface, it may seem great. Here, you will find one of government’s dirtiest tricks. Journalists and media already have a shield law. It’s called the first amendment:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

DC will now try and pass a law that will put parameters on media, journalism, journalists, etc. We are told that this will strengthen protection for journalists. In reality, it  could open the door for government persecution due to purposefully placed ambiguous language.  This is certainly by design, as it is repeated in almost every law passed by Congress and signed by the President.

S. 987 (Free Flow of Information Act) defines what a media provider is and who a journalist is, and is not. However, Senator Feinstein is not satisfied with the language and wants it further restricted. 

According to a report, Feinstein says, 

“I’m concerned this would provide special privilege to those who are not reporters at all.” 
She is referring to bloggers and the likes of Edward Snowden, NSA whistle-blower. Feinstein went on to suggest that the term journalist only apply to those who report for mainstream media sources, and do so as a primary source of income. H. 1962, the House version of the bill, already includes such stipulation:

The term ‘‘covered person’’ means a person who, for financial gain or livelihood, is engaged in journalism and includes a supervisor, employer, parent, subsidiary, or affiliate of such covered person.

The meaning, if you aren’t being paid- then you don’t get protection under the new law.

Feinstein’s amendment, which is scheduled to be introduced will seek to restrict who is protected under the law. The Electronic Frontier Foundation reports that the amendment will require journalists to meet one of the following criteria:

  1. working as a “salaried employee, independent contractor, or agent of an entity that disseminates news or information;”
  2. either (a) meeting the prior definition “for any continuous three-month period within the two years prior to the relevant date” or (b) having “substantially contributed, as an author, editor, photographer, or producer, to a significant number of articles, stories, programs, or publications by an entity . . . within two years prior to the relevant date;” or
  3. working as a student journalist “participating in a journalistic publication at an institution of higher education.” (emphases added)
Amendment to S. 987, 113th Cong. § 5(A)(i), § 5(B)(iii) (2013)

Her amendment continues to muddy the waters by retaining original language that requires:

  1. that individuals “engage in . . . the regular gathering, preparation, collection, photographing, recording, writing, editing, reporting or publishing on” matters of public interest; or
  2. that individuals “regularly conducted interviews, reviewed documents, captured images of events, or directly observed events.” (emphases added)
Amendment to S. 987, 113th Cong. § 5(A)(ii), § 5(B)(i) (2013)

These criteria are troublesome. What about those not salaried? How do you define a “substantial contributor”, “entity”, or “significant”? What happens to these students once they have graduated? How do you define one who is “regularly” engaged in journalism? It is certainly ambiguous at best
.
This attempt to restrict protection to bloggers and leakers is nothing new. In 2009, Senator Schumer introduced an amendment to the Free Flow of Information Act that purposefully excluded bloggers and non-salaried writers from protection.

In the future, keep an open eye for federal legislation, which claims any association with your innate rights such as the “Free Flow of Information Act”. Rights such as those to keep and bear arms, or the freedom of speech. When our rights are left to the hands of vague legislative language, no good can be found as result. For liberty and freedom are words of absolute, and ambiguity must find no refuge here.

I cannot tell, after researching the law and discussions, whether this blog would even be protected.

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Why Conservatism will ultimately win

by British political analyst Nile Gardiner

“Conservatism is thriving in America today because liberty, freedom and individual responsibility are at the heart of its ideology, one that rejects the foolish notion that government knows best. And its strength owes a great debt to the conviction and ideals of Ronald Reagan, who always believed that America’s best days are ahead of her, and for whom the notion of decline was unacceptable. As the Gipper famously put it in a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference in 1988: ‘Those who underestimate the conservative movement are the same people who always underestimate the American people’.”


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Affordable' Care: $1 Pay Hike Costs Middle-Class Family $9,355 Hike in Premiums



President Barack Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law on March 23, 2010. (AP File Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - When the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare) is fully enforced on individuals and families next year, a middle-aged, middle-class couple with three children could be hit with a $9,355 hike in their annual health-insurance premiums if their annual household income happens to increase by just $1.

Under ACA, all Americans are required to secure health insurance. Those who do not get it through their employer can buy it through government-run health-insurance exchanges, which the law requires to be set up in every state. People buying their Obamacare-mandated health coverage through these exchanges will be eligible for federal subsidies in the form of a refundable tax credit---as long as their adjusted gross household income is between 100 percent and 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).

People whose household income is too small to qualify for the subsidy will be put on Medicaid. People whose household income exceeds 400 percent of the FPL will get no subsidy at all.

According to the IRS, which responded to a CNSNews.com inquiry on the issue, a household earning an annual income that is just $1 more than 400 percent of the FPL is ineligible for an Obamacare subsidy, period.

As explained by both the IRS—which wrote the regulation governing the Obamacare subsidy--and the Congressional Research Service, which published a July 31 report on the matter (Health Insurance Premium Credits in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act), the Obamacare insurance-premium subsidy essentially works as a cap on the percentage of annual income an eligible person is required to pay in health-insurance premiums.

This percentage-of-income cap gradually increases as a household’s income increases from 100 percent of FPL to 400 percent.

For households with income between 100 percent and 133 percent of the poverty level, for example, insurance premiums are capped at 2 percent of household income. From there, the cap gradually rises until it tops out at 9.5 percent of income for households making between 300 percent and 400 percent of the poverty level.

For households with incomes over 400 percent of FPL—even just $1 over, according to the IRS—there is no cap on the percentage of their income they can be made to pay for their Obamacare-mandated health-insurance premiums.

“ACA will provide premium credit support scaled to individual and family income relative to poverty such that eligible families and individuals’ premium contributions will be limited from 2.0 percent to 9.5 percent of income,” explained the Congressional Research Service. “Individuals and families with income at or above 400 percent of poverty will be ineligible for premium credits.”

The regulation governing the “premium credit” or subsidy is also calculated on the assumption that the household will buy the second-lowest-cost “Silver” plan on the health-insurance exchange. There are “Gold” and “Platinum” plans above the "Silver" plan and "Bronze" plans below it. Under Obamacare, a household is free to buy a cheaper Bronze plan or a more expansive Gold or Platinum plan, but, as CRS explains it, “if the individual/family enrolls in a plan with a premium that exceeds the premium for the reference plan [the Silver plan], the individual/family is responsible for paying that additional amount.”

What does this mean in cold hard cash?

The Kaiser Family Foundation maintains an online "Subsidy Calculator” to give individuals and families an idea of how much their health insurance will cost under Obamacare and how much of a federal subsidy they may get—or not get—to help pay for it.

Because the federal government has not yet published the Federal Poverty Level numbers for 2014, the calculator uses the FPL numbers for 2013. This year, the FPL for a family of five (a mom, a dad, and three children) is $27,570. Four hundred percent of FPL for a family of five is $110,280.

That means that, under Obamacare’s health-insurance subsidy rule, a family of five that earns $110,280 in a year, and buys health-insurance on the government-run exchange, will have their premiums capped at 9.5 percent of their income (if they buy the second-lowest costing “Silver” plan or a cheaper plan).

But if the mom in this family gets a 50-cent raise and dad gets a 50-cent raise, too—so that their adjusted gross household income increases by a combined $1 (to $110,281)—the family will no longer have a cap on the percentage of their income they must pay for health-insurance premiums.
So, what will that $1 increase in household income cost them?

Under the Obamacare law, the cost of the premiums a family can be charged for health insurance varies according to the age of the people in the household, the number of children, and other factors.

CNSNews.com put a hypothetical family of five through the Kaiser Family Foundation subsidy calculator. In this family, there were three children and a mom and a dad who were both 56 years old--and who did not smoke.

This hypothetical family started out with an annual income of $110,280—exactly 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation subsidy calculator, their total annual premiums for an Obamacare-approved “Silver” health-insurance plan were $19,832. Under the Obamacare subsidy regulation, this family would be required to pay $10,477 of that premium—which equals 9.5 percent of their household income, the Obamacare cap on premiums for people earning between 300 percent and 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.

The rest of this family’s annual premium--$9,355—would be covered by the federal government in the form of subsidy payments that the Treasury would send directly to the family’s insurance company.

But, continuing our hypothetical example, this mom and dad each get a 50-cent raise in their annual salaries. As a result of those 50-cent raises, their household income climbs an entire dollar to $110,281—putting their household income exactly $1 over 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.

When this $1 increase in household income is plugged into the Kaiser Family Foundation subsidy calculator, the calculator accurately notes that the family no longer qualifies for Obamacare’s 9.5-percent-of-household income cap on their health-insurance premiums.

According to the calculator, the family’s total annual premium for their Silver health-insurance plan remains $19,832. Now, however, because they earn too much money to qualify for the federal subsidy, they must pay every penny of that $19,832 premium. As a result, the cash they must pay out of pocket for their health insurance plan goes from $10,477 per year to $19,832 per year, an increase of $9,355.

Because Obamacare health insurance premiums will vary according to the age of the purchasers, the size of the family, and other factors, not all families will take the $9,355 hit our hypothetical family took here for getting a $1 raise that put their income over 400 FPL and made them too wealthy to get an Obamacare subsidy.

A family with different demographics might have a smaller—or bigger—increase in their premiums.

For example, a family of four, in which both parents were 56 years old, would hit the 400-percent of FPL threshold at $94,200. Their annual premium for a “Silver” plan would be $17,915, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation subsidy calculator. If they kept their income at $94,200 or less, they would need to pay $8,949 per year for their insurance and the government would pay an $8,966 subsidy to their insurance provider.

But if this family increased its annual income—to $94,201—they would become ineligible for the subsidy, lose the 9.5 percent-of-income cap on the premiums they are required to pay, and would need to pay the entire $17,915 cost of their health insurance plan themselves. Thus, the $1 increase in their income would cost them an $8,966 increase in their Obamacare insurance premiums.

It could be worse.

If the stress of paying an additional $8,966 for health insurance as a result of their $1 increase in income caused the mom and dad in this family to start smoking, insurance companies would be allowed to increase their premium as a penalty for their tobacco use.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation calculator, when the parents start smoking this family will see its annual premiums rise to $24,956.

And, under Obamacare and its subsidy regulation, this middle-aged, middle-class mom and dad—who earned a $1 increase in their annual income—would have to pay every penny of that $24,956.


Friday, August 9, 2013

How did your child earn the right to sit in a desk in the classroom?


Back in September of 2005, on the first day of school, Martha Cothren, a social studies school teacher at Robinson High School in Little Rock , did something not to be forgotten. On the first day of school, with the permission of the school superintendent, the principal and the building supervisor, she removed all of the desks out of her classroom.

When the first period kids entered the room they discovered that there were no desks.

'Ms. Cothren, where're our desks?'

She replied, 'You can't have a desk until you tell me how you earn the right to sit at a desk.'

They thought, 'Well, maybe it's our grades.'

'No,' she said.

'Maybe it's our behavior.'

She told them, 'No, it's not even your behavior.'

And so, they came and went, the first period, second period, third period. Still no desks in the classroom.

By early afternoon television news crews had started gathering in Ms. Cothren's classroom to report about this crazy teacher who had taken all the desks out of her room.

The final period of the day came and as the puzzled students found seats on the floor of the deskless classroom, Martha Cothren said, 'Throughout the day no one has been able to tell me just what he or she has done to earn the right to sit at the desks that are ordinarily found in this classroom. Now I am going to tell you.'

At this point, Martha Cothren went over to the door of her classroom and opened it.



Twenty-seven (27) U.S. Veterans, all in uniform, walked into that classroom, each one carrying a school desk. The Vets began placing the school desks in rows, and then they would walk over and stand alongside the wall. By the time the last soldier had set the final desk in place those kids started to understand, perhaps for the first time in their lives, just how the right to sit at those desks had been earned.

Martha said, 'You didn't earn the right to sit at these desks. These heroes did it for you. They placed the desks here for you. Now, it's up to you to sit in them. It is your responsibility to learn, to be good students, to be good citizens. They paid the price so that you could have the freedom to get an education. Don't ever forget it.'

By the way, this is a true story. And this teacher was awarded Teacher of the Year for the state of Arkansas in 2006.

Please don't forget that the freedoms we have in this great country were earned by U. S. Veterans. Always remember them and the rights they have won for us.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

An Open Letter to NBC Entertainment

 Robert Greenblatt, Chairman of NBC Entertainment
30 Rockerfeller Center
New York, NY 10020

Dear Mr. Greenblatt:

I am writing you because I am concerned about the your company's decision to air a miniseries promoting former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ahead of her likely candidacy for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016.

As an American company, you have every right to air programming of your choice. But as American citizen, certainly you recognize why many are astounded at the actions, which appear to be a major network's thinly-veiled attempt at putting a thumb on the scales of the 2016 presidential election. This special treatment is unfair to the candidates for the Democratic nomination in 2016 who might compete against Secretary Clinton (including Vice President Biden, Governors O'Malley, Cuomo, and Hickenlooper; Senator Klobuchar and others) and to the Republican nominee, should Clinton compete in the general election.

There's ample cause for concern. Executives and employees of Comcast, NBC's parent company, have been generous supporters of Democrats and Secretary Clinton. David Cohen, Comcast's EVP, raised over $1.4 million for President Obama's reelection efforts and hosted a fundraiser for the president. Comcast Corp. employees have donated $522,996 to the president and donated $161,640 to Secretary Clinton's previous campaigns.

Your company has expressly stated that your choice to air the miniseries in the near future would avoid concerns of running afoul of equal time election laws. This suggests a deliberate attempt at influencing American political opinion in favor of a preferred candidate, not to mention a guilty conscience. Liberals complained noisily when Citizens United sought to air a pay-per-view documentary on Hillary Clinton prior to the 2008 election, and yet they are conspicuously silent now that NBC is launching a miniseries on network television.

I find this disturbing and disappointing. NBC cannot purport to be a neutral party in American politics, and the credibility of NBC News, already damaged by the partisanship of MSNBC, will be further undermined by the actions of NBC Universal executives who have taken it upon themselves to produce an extended commercial for Secretary Clinton's nascent campaign.

Secretary Clinton has been in the public eye for well over two decades, so you certainly cannot claim that a series about her political career is any sort of public service or information docudrama on an unknown individual. Quite the opposite is true: it would be most accurately described as an in-kind donation.

Out of a sense of fairness and decency and in the interest of the political process and your company's reputation, I would recommend that you cancel this political ad masquerading as an unbiased production.

NBC would hardly be able to be considered an unbiased partner in any national debates of any of the candidates for national office after taking part in this in-kind donation of a political ad. It would be unrealistic to think that the populous will be able to determine if there is any separation between NBC Entertainment's view and the NBC New's and therefore see the obvious bias of the network.

Sincerely,

Steven E Potts


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

You Can’t Drive 55: NY Suspends Driver’s Licenses For Tax Delinquents

by the Taxgirl
Posted: 05 Aug 2013 10:04 AM PDT

SPEEDING CARe
SPEEDING CAR (Photo credit: marc falardeau)

It’s not speeding. It’s not driving while under the influence. It’s not talking on your cell phone.
In New York State, it just got a whole lot easier to lose your license – for not paying your tax debt. Beginning this year, drivers who owe more than $10,000 in state taxes face losing their license until the debt is paid.

The crackdown is reflects a revenue raising measure in the state budget approved by lawmakers in March of this year.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said, about the initiative:
Our message is simple: tax scofflaws who don’t abide by the same rules as everyone else are not entitled to the same privileges as everyone else. These worst offenders are putting an unfair burden on the overwhelming majority of New Yorkers who are hardworking, law-abiding taxpayers. By enacting these additional consequences, we’re providing additional incentives for the state to receive the money it is owed and we’re keeping scofflaws off the very roads they refuse to pay their fair share to maintain.
Why such drastic measures? Money, of course. The Empire State boasts a 96% voluntary compliance rate for businesses and individuals but the remaining 4% remains a sore spot. The Tax Department estimates that it will increase collections by $26 million this fiscal year alone – about $6 million each year thereafter – by pushing this program.

More than half of the anticipated collections appears to be owed by one individual taxpayer: Michael D. Zurawin of Putnam County. According to a list of top offenders in the state, he owes a whopping $16.7 million in delinquent personal income taxes alone for offenses dating back to 2004.

The first round of suspension notices will be mailed out to 16,000 delinquent taxpayers. Those folks have 60 days to arrange for payment. After the first round of notices, there will be a second round – the “this is your last chance” threat – and then the taxpayer’s license will be suspended.

In New York, driving with a suspended license can land you in hot water. Depending on the circumstances, it can be punishable by a mandatory fine of $200–$500 plus a surcharge and jail or probation of up to 30 days. If you do it more than once, the fines and jail time increase pretty significantly – do it repeatedly and you can also lose your car. You can check out the specific punishments by checking out the NY DMV’s handy pamphlet (downloads as a pdf).

Update: As a follow-up to one of the comments below, I have confirmed that there is a “restricted” license that you can apply for in the event that your license is suspended. The restricted license would allow you to commute to and from work only. It is not clear what you would have to do to qualify or how such restrictions would be enforced (do you have to offer your commuting route to the DMV?). It didn’t make the list of common restrictions on their site so I’ve asked for more details. I’ll let you know what I find out.

40 Financial Planning Life Lessons


40 Financial Planning Life Lessons

by stevencrevar

  1. Spend less than you make.
  2. Save at least 50% of your income.
  3. Don’t buy brand new products if you don’t have to.  Buy brand new products only if the cost per use outweighs its low-cost alternative.
  4. Always concern your immediate family first.  When you’re young, concern first your parents and siblings and when you’re older, concern first your spouse and children.
  5. Don’t live up to the “Joneses”.
  6. Money is not the root of all evil, the power it supposedly wields is.  Learn how to control this power.
  7. Never feel entitled to a windfall or your parents/guardians wealth.
  8. Never feel superior to someone who makes/has less money than you.
  9. Money can buy happiness up to a point.  Once security is reached, happiness comes from within.
  10. Don’t overwork yourself for money because then all the money will be spent on healing yourself.
  11. Marriage is half romance and half finance.  Make sure you take care of both.  An empty bank account and an empty vase will not prosper.
  12. The art is not in making money but keeping it.
  13. Go over your whole financial picture at least four times per year.
  14. Create and practice an heirloom life.
  15. It’s never too early in life to learn about the value of a dollar and the value of saving.
  16. Making wealth is different than preserving wealth.
  17. Acting wealthy leads to becoming poor and acting poor leads to becoming wealthy.
  18. Financial planning is mostly behavioral.
  19. If you don’t understand what you’re buying or investing in then don’t buy or invest in it.
  20. One’s goal should be to have their money work for them and not vice versa.
  21. There’s nothing greater than going to sleep with a clear mind and conscious.
  22. Never attach or define yourself via your income for it’s a small piece in your overall financial plan.
  23. Always wait at least 24 hours in making a big financial decision.
  24. Never enter into contract while inebriated.
  25. Provide first security to your family.
  26. Know your way around a budget and balance sheet.
  27. Your financial standing should not be of knowledge to anyone but yourself and your spouse.
  28. Don’t chase high returns.
  29. If you must go into debt, go into debt for education.  It’s the one thing that can never be taken from you.
  30. Education is an investment that provides for some of the highest returns.
  31. Wealth like Rome, is not built in a day.
  32. Your financial health should be treated like your bodily and mental health.  Be proactive in keeping it healthy.
  33. Treat your employees like you would treat your customers and treat your family like you would treat yourself.
  34. Your four closest friends should be your doctor, tax preparer, legal counsel and financial planner.
  35. When you’re young, start a business so that you can experience failure.  Success will come as a result.
  36. Only wealthy people can act crazily.
  37. Never spend money that you don’t have.
  38. To truly know a man is to know him when he’s poor.
  39. Investing doesn’t need daily surveillance.  It will only lead to a dismal end.
  40. Being wasteful with your money is being wasteful with your future and others.

Monday, August 5, 2013

AS only Ronald Reagan could could say it ...

"Well, the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant; it's just that they know so much that isn't so."

It Still is the Economy ... Stupid

Another month and another jobs report that's so bad it’s good. At least that’s how Wall Street will look at it, because free money from the Fed will now continue.
The economy added 162,000 jobs overall, well below the previous few months. Additionally wages and hours fell, meaning workers are bringing home fewer bucks.
You'll likely hear that unemployment fell but that was largely due to people giving up looking for work.
Obama’s best tactic so far for combating unemployment has been to convince people that there is no work for them, and where possible, use legislation to discourage full-time job creation, as we see is the case with Obamacare. Why create one job, when you can create two with half the benefit to the economy? 
Only 222,000 Full Time Jobs Created in '13-Image Source: ZeroHedge  
Known as the labor participation rate, the number of people who are participating in the workforce fell by .1%. The number of unemployed, not coincidentally, fell by 263,000 while the number of people not in the workforce increased by 240,000.
Nice how that works so well with all the other Obama math.
This is known to Obama as a “balanced approach.”
"The [jobs] report is disappointing, with weaker job growth in July compared to the first half of 2013," PNC senior economist Gus Faucher, speaking for the stock market, told ABCNews. "Despite the drop in the unemployment rate, the softer job growth in July, combined with the downward revisions to May and June, makes the Federal Reserve slightly less likely to reduce its purchases of long-term assets when it next meets in mid-September."
That means the stock market will likely continue to rise.  
Overall the numbers add up to Obama being the worst jobs president in the history of the world, even if he is a “peacemaker” (HA! That’s just the kind of thing you get when you allow a Norwegians to award peace prizes on behalf of Sweden. The joke’s on you Sweden).
And the jokes on us too, but it’s no laughing matter.
That’s because Obama treats jobs like he did brain cells when he was a teenager. It kind of makes you wonder what he’s smoking now, besides the cigarettes he likely puffs in the Oval Office.
“They keep on talking about this — an oil pipeline coming down from Canada that’s estimated to create about 50 permanent jobs,” Obama said of the Keystone Pipeline, like he's unfamiliar with the details. “That’s not a jobs plan.”
Well if anyone would know what “not a jobs plan” looks like it would be the Amateur.
The emphatic “they” of course are Republicans.
But contrast the GOP plan with Obama’s plan, say, on Solyndra, which was Obama’s “keystone” jobs plan for “alternative energy.”
Of course Solyndra suffered from the same delusion that all of Obama's plans suffer from: that is, it lacked the requisite ingredients. It’s hard to create alternative energy jobs when your technology can’t produce any, um, energy.
Getting past the fact that Obama’s wrong about the number of jobs created by the Keystone pipeline, 50 permanent jobs created by Keystone looks a lot better than the 500 permanently unemployed people created by Solyndra.
But even that is beside the point.
Ask Obama where jobs are really being created in this country. Seriously. Ask him, I’m not sure he knows.
Because, it’s not in the president’s unnamed fantasy states Number 56 and 57 where jobs are coming from. It’s in the Republic of Texas and the Republic of North Dakota where oil and gas energy’s a’boomin’. 
“With a growth rate five times the national average, it’s time to recognize the enormous potential emerging up North,” said Business Facilities magazine’s editor-in-chief Jack Rogers. “North Dakota is generating so many jobs, newcomers are sleeping in their cars while new housing is built.” 
Please note the difference here in plans: People sleeping in their car FOR a job. With Obama's plan, people sleep in cars, but not on purpose. 
Business Facilities covers corporate expansion and relocation and is targeted for C-level executives who are the decision-makers on where a company locates or expands its business.
“The results from our most recent rankings had us tempted to restructure our annual evaluation of the states into a new configuration: Texas and everybody else,” Rogers said. “The Lone Star State repeated its success in our 2012 rankings with a tour de force just as impressive in our 2013 package.”
Fortunately for the White House, they can say the same thing: Their performance on jobs and the economy in 2013 has been a repeat of 2012, 2011, 2010 and 2009.

It's a true tour de farce, proving that where jobs are concerned, Obama's in his own category. 

There is President Obama and President Everyone Else.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Defunding Obamacare ... FAQs

POLICY AND TECHNICAL
“What do you mean by defunding Obamacare?”
Defunding Obamacare means attaching a legislative rider to a “must pass” bill (debt limit, annual spending bill, etc.) that 1) prohibits any funds from being spent on any activities to implement or enforce Obamacare; 2) rescinds any unspent balances that have already been appropriated for implementation; and 3) turns off the exchange subsidy and new Medicaid spending that are on auto-pilot.
 “There is no such thing as defunding Obamacare.”
That is a false statement.  Congressmen who assert this are either asserting that funding is not being spent to implement Obamacare (false) or that a defund amendment cannot technically be executed (again, false).  Defunding Obamacare can be done, and it has been attempted by the House of Representatives recently.  For instance, in 2011, after gaining the majority, the Republican House included such a defunding provision on the continuing spending resolution (HR 1) when the bill first passed the House.  The provision was later discarded in negotiations with the President and the Senate, but the effort began with promise.
“What is the urgency to defund Obamacare now?”  
On January 1, 2014, Obamacare’s new main entitlements—the Medicaid expansion and the exchange subsidies—are  scheduled to take effect.  Open enrollment for both programs begins on October 1, 2013, at the start of the new fiscal year.  According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the federal government will spend $48 billion in 2014—and nearly $1.8 trillion through 2023—on these new entitlement programs.  Also on January 1, Americans will be forced by their government to buy a product—health insurance—for the first time ever.  Individuals and families who don’t comply will be penalized by tax penalties administered through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  The Obama Administration has requested over $400 million in funding and nearly 2,000 bureaucrats for the IRS to implement the individual mandate and 46 other statutory provisions in the law.  Within the Administration, the blizzard of Obamacare rules and regulations continues apace.  Regulators have now written over 20,000 pages of Obamacare-related rules and notices in the Federal Register.  Many of these regulations will increase the cost of insurance; CBO concluded Obamacare would raise individual health insurance premiums by $2,100 per year.
“Isn’t defunding Obamacare impossible because most of the funding is ‘mandatory’ (or on ‘auto-pilot’) and cannot be amended via the annual appropriations process?”
No.  According to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the IRS, “will incur substantial administrative costs to implement the law’s private insurance reforms and its changes to the federal health care programs.”  And while Obamacare provided $1 billion in mandatory implementation funding when it was enacted, HHS projects that this is largely spent.  According to CRS, Obamacare “administrative costs will have to be funded through the annual discretionary appropriations.”  Furthermore, annual appropriations bills routinely carry funding limitations to block all sorts of activities (for example, the Hyde Amendment), as well make changes to mandatory spending.  These latter provisions are called “changes in mandatory program spending” (CHIMPS).  Even if these riders were not so common-place, the stakes of so many provisions of Obamacare scheduled to take effect would present grounds for an exception.
“Isn’t defunding impossible because there is not a specific funding stream for Obamacare?  Funding is embedded throughout the federal government and not specifically designated.”
No.  Congress is aware of all of the programs that fund Obamacare because CRS has provided such a list and the Appropriations Committees are well-versed in the funding intricacies of the law.  However, a blanket prohibition against funding all activities associated with implementing the law is all that is needed to halt implementation.  Each program does not have to be specifically defunded.
POLITICAL AND STRATEGIC
“My Congressman supports repealing Obamacare but not defund….”
It is wonderful that Congressmen support repealing Obamacare, but it’s not enough.  The House has had numerous votes to repeal Obamacare, but the chances of statutorily repealing the law decreased once President Obama won a second term.  Conservatives cannot wait another three-and-a-half years to begin dismantling Obamacare; they need to leverage current opportunities to defund Obamacare on “must-pass” spending bills.
“Since Obamacare is the President’s ‘signature achievement’ won’t he veto any effort to defund the program?  Why should conservatives make this the focus of their anti-Obamacare efforts?”
There is a critical window of opportunity to stop the flow of funding for Obamacare from now until October 1, 2013, when the new fiscal year begins.  It is during the same window that the President and Congress must pass bills to fund the government for the coming year.  It is entirely appropriate for conservative members of Congress to use this opportunity to say, “No more funding for Obamacare!” and wage a serious and determined fight.   If the Republican House girds for this fight—and wins the national argument with the urgency coming from a number of scheduled implementation dates and the law’s rising unpopularity—President Obama will be forced to compromise.

“If you don’t have the votes for a statutory repeal, why would you think you can get the votes to defund Obamacare?”
The Constitution grants the House of Representatives the ultimate “power of the purse.”  If Congress chooses not to fund Obamacare activities for the upcoming fiscal year, the Obama Administration cannot act to implement the law.  The President’s party does not control the House of Representatives, which must originate debt limit and spending bills to fund the government.  And the House Republican Majority was elected in 2010, on the basis of its platform against Obamacare.
“Won’t adding a provision to defund Obamacare to a ‘must-pass’ appropriations bill lead to a government shutdown?”
Obviously, this will set up a major political confrontation with President Obama, but it is the sort of conflict that will allow conservatives in the House of Representatives to remind the American people that the worst aspects of Obamacare are about to take hold and a defunding rider is the only thing standing in the way.
If House Republicans insist on defunding Obamacare, it is possible that the Obama Administration will shut the government down.  This would not be the end of the world, and it needs to be an option.  President Clinton shut the government down in 1995, by refusing to sign legislation to fund the government.  While most pundits in Washington DC believe that this was a catastrophic political failure for Republicans, it is a fact that the House Republicans maintained their majority in 1996, even with a popular president of another party on the ticket.  And their willingness to not accept all of Clinton’s demands was crucial towards eventually balancing the budget and reforming welfare.  The nation can no longer afford for conservatives to leave political leverage on the table.
“Shouldn’t Obamacare opponents focus instead on repealing pieces of the law where there is bipartisan support—for example, the medical device tax or the IPAB—in order to reinforce the fact that Obamacare is not set in stone and make its supporters take hard votes?”
Washington is filled with special interest groups lobbying everyday to secure a “fix” for the part of Obamacare that affects their industry.  There is no “fix” for this law and every time Congress caves to a special interest and makes the law “better” for that group, a little less momentum exists for full and final defunding or repeal.  “Fix” votes also give Obamacare supporters every opportunity to appear reasonable and willing to fix the worst excesses of the law.  The grim reality is that if the opponents of Obamacare are not willing to use every bit of political leverage at their disposal—a Republican majority in the House of Representatives, mostly made up of Congressmen from safe seats with constituents who strongly object to Obamacare—to halt implementation of the law, then it will be set in stone.  There is simply no more time, particularly as the massive exchange subsidies are made available and the Medicaid expansion takes effect.